The following story and all its characters are fictional. Any resemblance to those living or dead is purely coincidental. Most of the locations mentioned are either fictional or bastardized versions. The "Baker" Club does not exist. However, I have used the name "Baker" in honor of a real place. NO infringement implied or intended.

The Baker Club was a swanky 'members only' haunt that hosted parties for the ultra-rich and their myriad of 'guests.' Nicknamed 'BC' by its members, it was located miles out in the country. The club was secluded enough where the members could do just about anything they wanted, be it legal or otherwise. Often, the owners allowed its clientele to pay handsomely to rent the club for private gatherings. On this particular night, when one man's life would change forever, the club had been rented out by a wealthy socialite. This particular party was not the typical average everyday run-of-the-mill tea and crumpet affair. It wasn't close.

Tonight's hostess was Ruth Carmichael. If one looked up the word 'money' in the dictionary, her picture surely would have been featured. Ruth was almost fifty, very well put together, as she should have been. She had married money at a young age, using it to have many facelifts, tummy tucks, and liposuctions. She also paid for the very best fitness trainers. Ruth was happy to know that she had outlived her husband, managing to look ten years younger than her true age at the same time. Like many wealthy women in her inner circle, Ruth had a taste for expensive things. Only the best, which included her choice of social clubs, alcohol, and drugs. It was common knowledge that when Ruth threw a party, there would be 'special' refreshments for those who wanted to partake. Dozens of people always did, even those not prone to the social use of drugs. The temptation was too great. The massive amount of illicit substances boggled the mind. Rumor had it that Ruth was boinking a cop and had free reign of whatever he seized. None of Ruthie's friends would have doubted it. She had connections everywhere.

Ian Rafferty was one of Ruth's guests. The Carmichaels and Raffertys went way back. Ruth's husband and Ian's father had worked in the same building for years. They shared a passion for golf, often leaving work early to hit the greens. When her husband passed, Ruth kept extending party invitations to Ian, although she thought he was a spoiled coke head. However, she had her eye on Clinton Rafferty. The Raffertys were more wellto do than the Carmichaels. Clinton was a widower long before Ruth lost her husband. She often hoped he was in the market. If it meant she had a chance, she didn't care if Ian snorted enough coke to choke a mule. And she was sure he would. It wasn't that Ian was a complete addict, but he wasn't far from it.

Ruth could see Ian from where she stood. He worked for his father's company in the accounting department, probably as an overpaid VP if his father had anything to do with it. Unlike his junior co-workers, he refused to conform to their physical standards. He could get away with it. After all, Daddy was the boss. Ian's hair was long, jet black, and always worn neatly tied back. According to Clinton, it was the closest he would come to cutting it. He also sported a close cropped beard and mustache giving him an appearance of someone much older than he was. He was a delectable piece of ass, he flirted with every female dreadfully, but he was pitiful. He was always alone until someone approached him. If she ever married Clinton Rafferty, the first thing she would do as Ian's stepmother would be to send his ass to rehab. Sadly, she shook her head. He was as lost as a little boy. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

Ian Rafferty's heart thumped along crazily with the throbbing music in the room. Was it the music? Was it him? The coke? Whatever it was, he had never heard music so loud in his life. It seemed to lift him up, allowing him to float before he drifted back down to his feet. He could dance rather well and spent the better half of the night bopping around with women he would never remember tomorrow morning, even if he bedded them. The lights in the room were messing with him as well. They were similar to flickering strobe lights, but much more bright and grotesque. Brilliant blue, red, yellow, and white swished about his head. Around him, people were dancing. Not him. It seemed as if he were standing still for the first time all night. Oddly, the other guests wore masks. Ruth had said nothing about this being a costume party. But then, she hadn't mentioned her love of techno music, either. It was one of the funniest thoughts ever to strike him. He laughed out loud, the sound of it amplified as much as the throbbing music. Was cocaine a hallucinogen? He thought it was a stimulant. Right now, nothing was stimulating him. It was playing mind games, screwing him up in the head. What could he do about this? Why, he could do another line. That's what.

The coke was flowing freely as it always was during Ruth's 'gatherings.' He rarely partook of it. Ian was a snob when it came to coke. He preferred a purer grade than what Ruth supplied in her hospitality bowls. He brought his own stash, purchased from the only dealer Ian trusted. Isaiah 'Shortie' Starks was Ian's man. He sold packets of high grade coke he dubbed 'Plugs.' He never understood how these packets came to be called such and probably wouldn't have cared if he had known. Shortie was hard to take at times, but he was a fairly decent man…for a piece of trash. Ian had snorted several lines of Shortie's Plugs. He had seen some wild things. He had zoomed right on up to the moon and beyond. Ian liked the Plugs. He liked them so much that he would buy out every packet Shortie had, guarding them selfishly, doing more and more as time passed. Hadn't he gone to work a few days ago half lit? Thank God it was a slow day. Thank God his father hadn't come in the office. Thank God for the little things.

Unsteady on his feet, Ian stumbled toward the men's room, ignoring the appreciative glances he received from both male and female partygoers. Perhaps he would have some fun with that later. Right now, he needed another hit before his current buzz melted away. He couldn't allow that to happen, could he?

Much to his good fortune, the men's room was virtually deserted. There was one other fellow standing in front of a sink. Ian recognized him, but could not recall his name. Without speaking, he approached a sink to his immediate right. Although he couldn't remember the other guy's name or where he had met him, Ian knew he wasn't a Narc. Of that, he was certain. The guy had his own packet of something he was snorting freely. From the looks of it, it might have been heroin. Ian never cared for heroin. It was a low class drug. He turned his attention from the other man and toward the sizeable signet ring he wore on his left hand pinkie finger. It had been a gift from a girl he had casually dated four or five years ago. The same girl had turned him on to cocaine at one of her parties. After picking up the habit socially, she bought the ring as a 'special' gift. She had shown him that the circle encrusted with his initials screwed off like the world's smallest pill bottle. Inside, it was hollow. Perfect for your coke, my love, she had whispered when she slipped it on his finger. It was where he kept Shortie's coke. Not caring if the guy next to him was watching or not, Ian screwed off the cap and stuck the tip of his right pinkie into the pristine white powder. He brought his finger up to his left nostril, snorting quickly, surely, as he had been taught to do years ago. Before his brain had time to process the first blast, he repeated the same move with his right nostril. Within moments, Ian felt the good rush of the fine, fine powder. He didn't have time to realize that he was alone now. Nothing mattered except the high. Unlike prior toots, this one hit him harder than before. How could that be? Was it tainted? Shortie was known to mix PCP into some of his concoctions, but he knew Ian wasn't geared toward that. It couldn't be tainted. Shortie Starks' coke was the best blow in the country.

Ian brought his hands up to his face, spilling his special powder all over the floor. His head was splitting in two, his heart beating crazily. SLAM. BOOM. SLAM. A heart attack at twenty-eight. He was much too young for this. Much too young. His legs gave out on him and his body collapsed to the floor. His brown eyes identified his signet ring, saw the spilled coke. What a waste. He would know nothing for hours.

It was well past three in the morning before Ruth's party began to fall apart. She was still at the club an hour after everyone left, but she had no idea why. She certainly wouldn't stay and help the employees clean up. She was well above that. Perhaps it was because she was in no hurry to go back to her huge, lonely house. Oh poor, poor little rich girl.

Since the guests were all gone, the main hall was vacant. The floor was littered with empty glasses and bottles. It was completely desolate. Ruth turned to leave the mess for the BC people, but the exit was blocked by a familiar lanky figure. She sighed, the sound emitting from her thick with impatience. Didn't he get enough already? Why was he always the last to leave a party? Imbecile.

"Shouldn't you be gone by now," she asked in her haughtiest tone.

He smiled. "I thought I would wait for you."

"I've told you, boy. You're much too young for me," she said before waving her hand dismissively.

"Not this time, Ruth," he said steadily.

Tired of the game for now, Ruth tried to move past the hellion, but he surprised her by grasping her wrist tightly in his large paw. When she attempted to raise her free hand, he took hold of it as well. Ruth wasn't scared yet, only annoyed.

"Let me go," Ruth growled. She would see to it that he received a nice black ball at future BC gatherings.

"Not this time," he said, his voice taking on more sinister tones.

Ruth opened her mouth to protest again, but he was too quick for that. He released one of her wrists and drew back. The blow connected with her cheek solidly. Her body swayed almost sickly. She felt the horrible sensation of losing her footing. Before she could fall on her surgically enhanced ass, he caught her, spun her around, and pushed her harshly against a folding table. She knew what he had in mind now. For once in her life, she didn't want it. She opened her mouth to scream, but he moved again, tangling his hand into her hair, shoving her upper body down onto the table. It creaked beneath their combined weight. She prayed it would collapse. If it did, she might be able to get away. Unfortunately, it held. This was not the time for cheap furniture to defy her.

The instant she felt his large, hot hands shove up her skirt, she began to whimper. "You don't want to do this," she cried.

He took hold of her silken panties, ripping them away from her body. "Yes, I do. More than you could ever imagine, Ruth. Lie still and enjoy."

She closed her eyes when she heard his zipper going down. This could not happen to her. This could not happen to Ruth Hughes Carmichael. This could only happen to other women. Whores. Poor women. Not the absolutely fabulous Ruth Hughes Carmichael. Not her. Never her.

Ian Rafferty awoke with a massive headache. Rays of harsh sunlight stabbed his eyeballs like jagged knives, the blades dull and abused. He sat up slowly, running his hands through his long, unkempt hair. Funny. He had remembered tying it back for the party. Squinting against the light, he glanced at his surroundings. He was in an alley, between two squat buildings. His silk suit, which cost more than what some people made in a year, was wet and ruined. He immediately sought his salvation, but noticed his ring was gone. He had been robbed? He checked his pockets, quickly noticing that nothing else was missing. What thief would take a hollow signet ring when his cell phone and wallet held more promise? Ian touched his check, instantly drawing his hand away with a wince. His vision was blurry, his eyes hot and sticky, but he endured the pain to peer down at his fingers. Old and new blood covered his fingertips. What the hell? He could remember nothing.

Slowly, carefully, like an old man cursed with arthritis, Ian brought himself up to his feet. He had no clue where he was or how he had gotten here. Having forgotten about his cell phone, he stumbled down to the end of the alley, suddenly assaulted by the smell of rotten garbage, buzzing traffic, and the bangs/clangs of sanitation workers. It all culminated in one dawning realization. He was downtown, but had no clue as to how he had gotten here. He was itching for coke. He was a long way from home and Shortie Starks.

Ian stepped around the corner, inching his way onto the sidewalk. All around, he could feel eyes on him, pitying this poor drug addict shambling along hunting for a fix. He refused to believe he was that man, despite the reflection he saw in the windows he passed. This was not Clinton Rafferty's son. This was someone else. He had died last night only to be resurrected in the body of a bum in a good suit. Each block ahead was occupied by streetwise prostitutes and crack dealers. He was completely out of his element here. He had never touched a hooker or smoked crack. Ian had high rolling tastes. But his need for coke far outweighed his snobbery. Bad trips came from bad coke. It didn't matter. He was desperate. Hungry. And loaded.

Detective Cynthia 'Cynn' Lenderman sat back in her creaky chair. Although she had heard stories of brutal rape hundreds of times in her career, they always managed to shake her up. This time, though, she didn't feel an ounce of sympathy for one Ruth Carmichael. The woman didn't have a scratch on her. She was well put together in a white linen suit, her platinum hair coiffed perfectly in a chin-length bob. She had a diamond ring on every finger. Images of Martha Stewart implanted on her brain and she couldn't let it go. In the foreground, Cynn heard the warbling of the department's half-witted secretary. Any time she asked her to work a lick, she grumbled under her breath: "Oh lord, oh deary dear. Oh gosh golly." It was distracting mostly, but today, a welcome relief from Ruth's droning voice.

"He pushed up my skirt, ripped off my panties…and raped me," Ruth cried.

Cynn heard more drama in her voice than a whole slew of Lifetime movies. She had seen women come in with blackened eyes, torn skin, savage bites on their breasts, thighs, and buttocks. They had more credibility than this pathetic lotus blossom seated before her. "I understand that, Mrs. Carmichael," she said dryly, without much sympathy. "But you haven't identified your attacker by name. Only by 'he.' Excuse my bluntness, but that's not much help."

Ruth didn't respond. She went on and on, crying, moaning, and whining. Cynn had obtained the hospital report. It was obvious she had engaged in rough and tumble intercourse, but was it rape? There was no evidence of semen, either on Ruth or her clothing. The 'attacker' had obviously used a condom. Ruth had claimed she scratched her rapist. They had obtained skin from underneath her fingernails, but that still didn't prove anything. She had spoken to her attacker, so she knew who the bastard was. Why was she being so coy? Cynn knew of Ruth Carmichael. She knew of her parties. She knew the circles she traveled in. Their idea of rape was a bad cut of cocaine.

Ruth straightened the lines in her suit and dabbed at her eyes before her mascara could run. She dug something out of her pocket and slammed it onto the desk. Crossing her arms defiantly across her chest, she glared at the female detective. "Him."

Groaning inwardly, Cynn reached across the desk and picked up the object either Ruth or one of her servants had carefully wrapped in toilet tissue. She uncovered her second piece of physical evidence, peering down at it curiously. It was a huge gold signet ring, the top encrusted with blue diamonds. The diamonds spelled out two initials: IR. IR? The only IR Cynn knew of was Ian Rafferty. She disliked him as much as she disliked Ruth Carmichael. Interesting. He ran in her circles, snorted coke obtained by Shortie Starks, and he was a lowlife rich boy with scum in his veins. Suddenly, Cynn held Ruth in a different type of regard. Suddenly, Ruth's story made a whole hell of a lot more sense.

"How did you get this," Cynn asked suddenly, fascinated in spite of herself.

"I ripped it off his goddamned finger while he was raping me," Ruth cried, gazing at Cynn as if she were the most idiotic individual on the planet. "Did you think I asked my rapist for a gift?"

"Of course not," Cynn cooed, trying her damned best to sound comforting. "IR. Are we talking about Ian Rafferty?"

"Yes," Ruth exclaimed. "Who else? He had been snorting cocaine all night from this ring. It was empty. He wanted more. He wanted more but raped me instead." Ruth dabbed at her eyes again before blowing her nose discreetly. "He's an animal. He needs to be taken off the streets. He's a society whore!"

As are you, I'm sure. Ian Rafferty. She couldn't believe it. She didn't think he was in to old babes like Ruth Carmichael, but if he had snorted a particularly bad grain of coke, he could do anything to anyone. "I can assure you that we'll bring him in." She turned in her chair where she could get a good look at her secretary. "Rena! Call the Captain. We need a warrant."

Ian had been walking downtown for hours. He had no idea where he was trying to go. What was worse was that he couldn't find one gram of cocaine in this godforsaken place. There was plenty of crack. Tons of it. Mountains of it. He refused to touch it. Perhaps he could last a while longer until he found Shortie. That was his next plan of action. It was then that he remembered his cell phone. His goddamned cell phone. Why hadn't he thought of it earlier? He could call the office, have them send down a limo, and he could go home, clean up, and call Shortie. Yes. A hit would do him good right now. It would do him more good than the finest of foods or wines.

He dug the phone out of his breast pocket, but before he could dial one single digit, it rang. Nearly dropping it onto the concrete, he recovered quickly, peering down to see who decided to annoy him in the midst of withdrawal. No. No withdrawal. Only junkies withdraw. Not Ian Rafferty. Not the son of Clinton Rafferty. The miracle of all miracles, it was his father calling. Ian wasn't a religious man, but he was ready to kiss the toes of Jesus Christ.

"Dad," Ian said breathlessly. "I'm in trouble. I need…"

"You're damned right you're in trouble," Clinton Rafferty barked shortly on the phone. "The police are looking for you. What made you think you could attack Ruth Carmichael?"

Incredulously, Ian held the phone out away from his ear and stared at it stupidly. He was dreaming. Surely, he was dreaming. He would awaken in his bed…or in someone else's…and forget this night ever happened. He brought the phone up to his ear. "What? Me? I'd never…"

"Is that so, hotshot," Clinton scolded. "She had your ring, Ian. She said she ripped it off you while you were attacking her. Where are you, son? Tell me where you are and I will come get you. I'll hire the best attorney in the state. It will all be over before you know it. Maybe you'll only receive a slap on the wrist. You have a problem with coke, son, and maybe we can say you were under the influence…that you didn't mean it. We'll get you in rehab…"

Ian drew the phone away from his ear again. He would never assault a woman, especially Ruth Carmichael. He reasoned they were talking about someone else. He didn't have a problem with coke. He got along with it fine. He could leave it alone whenever he wanted. His father was talking about someone else. Had the entire world gone mad? Without a thought or a care, he dropped the phone. He could still hear his father rambling away. He had to run. He had to get away. He had to find Shortie Starks. Jumping to his feet, he crushed the phone underneath his expensive Italian leather loafers. Ahead, he saw another alley. He made his way toward it, not looking back.